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2020 / 2021 Edition

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MPA welcomes flood-defence announcement

Flooding

£5.2 billion investment as government unveils long-term plan to tackle flooding and coastal erosion

THE Mineral Products Association (MPA) has welcomed the Government’s announcement yesterday setting out details of the £5.2 billion pledged for flood defences and increasing resilience. The measures set out in the new plan are the most comprehensive in a decade and include the creation of around 2,000 new flood and coastal defences to better protect 336,000 properties in England by 2027.

The plans also include £200 million for innovative projects such as sustainable urban drainage systems and nature-based solutions such as temporary or permanent water storage areas which also boost wildlife. These will support 25 areas at risk of flooding to test and demonstrate innovative actions to adapt to a changing climate and improve their resilience.

In addition, up to £170 million will be spent to accelerate work on shovel-ready flood defence schemes that will begin construction in 2020 or 2021. Twenty-two areas across the country will benefit from this immediate boost to jobs supporting the local economy as communities recover from the impact of coronavirus.

Environment Secretary George Eustice said: ‘The devastating impacts of last winter’s flooding were an important reminder of the need to continue to invest and accelerate action to reduce the impact of flooding on our communities. Working closely with the Environment Agency, local authorities, business and the third sector, we will create a better protected and prepared nation.

MPA members will contribute to many parts of this programme, from providing aggregates, foundations and concrete pipes for hard defences to sustainable urban drainage schemes and porous surfaces in the built environment.

Moreover, mineral resources, including sand and gravel, are often located on functional flood plains, while hard rock and other upland quarries result in large voids with the potential to retain huge volumes of water. Therefore, the careful planning, design, management and restoration of quarries can assist by providing space for storage and natural flood relief for communities downstream.

Nigel Jackson, chief executive of the MPA, said: ‘We have often called for more focus on infrastructure delivery, so we are pleased to see the list of projects that the Government is committed to taking forward. Our members and their products are essential for ensuring the built environment is resilient into the future, and can play a significant role in the enhancement of natural environment as well.

‘Adaptation to climate change is essential now and in the coming decades, even if all countries deliver substantial cuts in greenhouse gas emissions. The mineral products industry will provide the essential materials for this challenge and the MPA welcomes today’s announcement.’

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